Thursday, October 18, 2018

Puerto Rico CofC to hold 2nd Promesa Conference on Jan. 31

By on January 17, 2018

SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce will be holding its second conference on the Promesa federal law on Jan. 31 at the Condado Plaza Hilton hotel. The event will bring together a group of financial experts and private and public sector representatives to discuss progress made since the first conference and educate about the challenges and opportunities amid changes and advances in the federal law.

On this occasion, the organizers said, Puerto Rico faces “greater uncertainty,” not only fiscally, but that in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, “the search for new tools and better solutions becomes urgent.”

The conference’s educational program will include analysis panels and plenaries that “foster critical thinking focused on short-, medium- and long-term solutions.”

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Some of the topics to be discussed by panels are the current fiscal and economic state of the private and public sectors; the legal challenges with Promesa; the impact on the budget and taxes; and Puerto Rico’s economic development growth plan.

The forum will delve into the issue of municipal empowerment with a  panel session titled “Reinventing Cities: Governance, Finance & P3s,” in which several mayors will participate, alongside La Fortaleza Chief of Staff William Villafañe.

Another panel, “The Legislature’s Views on the Economy, Promesa & Opportunities,” invited House Speaker Carlos Méndez and Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz to participate.

The release adds that Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce President Alicia Lamboy believes the event will result in a new perspective of Promesa.

“Different from the first conference, which had the purpose of educating about…PROMESA…, on this occasion we’ll focus on something more concrete and defined. We seek to know [about] the private sector’s proposals to reactivate the economy of Puerto Rico; the role of municipalities in the reinvention of cities; the vision of the Legislature before PROMESA; and the agenda for the revitalization of Puerto Rico. All these issues are relevant to direct future initiatives of the business sector toward a sustainable socioeconomic recovery of Puerto Rico. However, deep introspection is needed to rethink any alternative considered before Maria and look for solutions according to our new social and economic reality.”

Francisco J. Rodríguez-Castro, president & CEO of Birling Capital Advisors, a conference co-sponsor, is quoted in the published announcement saying: “The group of invited speakers has been selected to offer all points of view regarding…Promesa, and not focus only on those who are against or in favor, but rather how we will use Promesa to put finances into shape, channel more federal aid, nurture the country with greater fiscal discipline….” This, he said, is “our educational contribution” for the attendees.

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“Each expert has vast experience in their areas of focus and will provide collaborative perspectives on how to take advantage of Promesa. While it is true Promesa is a law that upsets our democratic order, we cannot stop using it to learn, grow, improve and eliminate, once and for all, the practices that have led us here. Once all the challenges have been identified, we can make more accurate decisions and raise the level of discussion to be part of the solution,” said Rodríguez-Castro, who is also the conference’s chairman. “Not all storms come to interrupt our lives. Some come to clear the way for us. This is the great post-María opportunity we have with Promesa.”

Among the invited speakers are: Medical Card System CEO James O’Drobinak; Los Cidrines founder Manuel Cidre; former Senate President & its current Minority Leader, Eduardo Bhatia; and CPA Jaime Sanabria, co-president & general manager of EcoEléctrica.

The event also includes a special session with Financial Oversight & Management Board Chairman José Carrión III. Engineer Noel Zamot, the fiscal board’s revitalization coordinator, will present “Energize, Revitalize, Transform & Restructure our Electric & Water Services” together with government and private sector representatives.

The conference will be held 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information or to register, call 787-721-6060.

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